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Kayaker Drowns at Pohick Bay

Man was fishing from a kayak Monday afternoon.

A kayaker who was fishing on Pohick Bay Monday afternoon in Lorton has apparently drowned, according to a witness on the scene.

The witness, Bob P., who asked that his last name not be used, called 911 when he saw the man call for help.

"I saw a guy kayaking out there," he said. "The next thing you know, he rolls over and starts swimming for shore. He got about 100 yards from the shore and yelled 'help' and he never came back up."

"I was waving to him and was giving him the thumbs up to see if he was alright," he said. "He probably got stuck in the mud because right where he went down is where they found him." 

Bob P. said he was eagle-watching with his binoculars near a pier when he noticed the man. He called 911 at 3:20 p.m. He described the kayaker as white, middle-aged and heavy set. He said he saw a fishing rod protruding from the front of the kayak. 

It took approximately a half hour to pull the man to shore. A fishing rod, and three full cans of Coors Light beer were recovered at the scene.

Police spotted the man using a police helicopter. Police divers in a rubber raft, with help from the helicopter, pulled him from the water.

Fairfax County Police officers and detectives are on the scene. 

Patch will update this story as we receive more information.

Lisa Harris September 25, 2012 at 10:03 AM
I am so sorry for this news. My heart goes out to his family. Is the mud a problem in the bay for a moment like this? I know there was another drowning a few years back and wonder if the mud got him stuck too? We want to get kayaks for Belmont Bay. What is the best way to respond if you fall out of the kayak in our two bays, Pohick and Belmont, should you try not to stand up and just sort of float, swim back without touching the bottom? Is that possible? Anyone with experience in our area please comment.
James Cullum September 25, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Thanks Lisa, We're waiting to hear back from the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority on that very question.
gw September 25, 2012 at 10:10 PM
First, anytime you kayak you should WEAR your life vest or pfd all the time you are in the boat. 2nd, alcohol and boating don't mix, and is actually illegal. Third, learn how to get back into your kayak from deep water. You will usually not be able to swim your kayak or you to shore in many cases. There is great free instruction available from local kayak clubs like the Chesapeake Paddlers Association, www.cpakayaker.com
Sally Spangler September 26, 2012 at 12:15 AM
I suspect that mud has been a problem for many years. The Occoquan flows from at least Manassas to the Potomac. There are some places it can get caught up in rocks and twists in the water's bed. I know that our Belmont Bay is waist deep in mud. Low tide on the river means just enough water in Belmont Bay to say that there is any water there. Don't swim! The whole thing is polluted all the way to the river and has been, probably until there has been some sort of pollution control - At one time Gunston School filtered their sewage and discharged into the creek and thence into the Occoquan. Think that has been changed, though.
Kurt Thiel September 26, 2012 at 03:45 AM
A shame he lost his life on such a beautiful day. The boat is not a Kayak. It is a Punt or some would call it a Poke boat, still needs a whistle and a PFD or other USCG approved floatation device and wearing it is the smart thing to do.
Sally Spangler September 26, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Hello Kurt - there is definitely a major difference between a punt and a kayak. I know the difference, I have seen people launch their kayaks to paddle off the southern end of the WW bridge. I have even paddled a canoe from Fletcher's Boathouse low these many years ago before life vests, etc safety equipment. I believe the flotation devices have been standard for boaters to use for many years ago. It used to be that Coast Guard Auxillary monitored the river. But, I suppose they were/are not required on the Occoquan. Too bad. Certainly more than too bad when someone doesn't feel it is necessary to guard against danger - including their own dismissal of maybe a danger is standing in a boat. regards.
Grayson Girl September 26, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Thanks for your sympathy moron

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